William Ross’s great leather is a huge part of our success. I found a manufacturer that perhaps uses the most expensive tannery in the western hemisphere and arguably the best! It’s the same tannery that Hartmann, Justin Boots and other big names use. You can almost eat off the floors. My manufacturer is always very pleased with the excellent leather they deliver every single time.
Watch out for leather that isn’t tanned long enough; it might look nice on the shelve, but it will crack and tear in no time. Basically, all of the natural oils and preservatives are extracted from the hide and the tannery replenishes them by tumbling the skin in a big drum for hours and hours. Some tanneries only tumble the leather long enough to coat the outer layer and therefore the inner part never gets oils and preservatives it needs.
How Do Leather Tanneries Cheat?
A drum usually costs well over $100,000 USD and therefore many tanneries don't have as many of them as they need. Therefore, in order to put out more leather, they cut the tumbling time by up to 90%. This is a big money maker because not only do they get to process more leather in the drums, but they don't have to use as much oil, colors or preservatives. They only have to buy enough of the liquids to tan 10% of the mass of the leather instead of 100% of the mass all the way to the center.
These liquids are really expensive and by using cheap liquids to tan, even if they do tumble it long enough, they can save thousands and thousands of dollars a year. Also, if the tannery uses cheap dyes and colors, your leather will fade and crack with too much sunlight. My manufacturer’s leather takes anywhere from 10 - 20 hours to tumble, depending on the leather and only the expensive hypoallergenic detergents, solvents and oils are used. You will regret it if your leather was made with the extremely cheap and allergenic Chrome 6, detergents and solvents instead of our hypoallergenic Chrome 3 and expensive detergents and solvents. A large company can save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by buying cheap leather.
How to Tell Good Leather from Cheap Leather?
Sometimes, a company thinks they're using good leather, but the factory halfway around the world that they outsourced their production to, is buying cheap leather. Of course, the general manager of the factory only pays for the cheap stuff, charges them for the more expensive stuff. And... it's hard to tell the difference since most companies either paint or fold over and sew the edges. Now, painted or finished edges like this don’t always mean cheap leather. Some quality leather companies finish their edges like this to give their leather a refined and polished look.
All of our William Ross leather edges are unfinished and unpainted so you can see they're roughly the same color throughout. The shade may vary, but you won’t see any blue in the middle. They don't look as perfect this way, but that's fine. They're not perfect and that's what makes them perfect.
I hope this information helps in your understanding of leather and in your search for the perfect leather piece. To my customers; it brings me great happiness that you will enjoy your travels with William Ross by your side. I am grateful and blessed you have chosen my product. For those of you who will leave here and keep on searching, I wish you great success.